Who do you think should represent the Nationals at the All-Star Game this month?
-- Joan J., Washington
As great as Lannan has looked lately, it's still gotta be Zimmerman. He's still head and shoulders above the rest of the team in value. I do agree with this Ladson quote: "I want to see the old Zimmerman, who was a complete player in 2006. I want to see him steal bases and bunt for base hits." I'm not usually on Ladson's team, but he hit the nail on the head here.
How do you think Mike Rizzo is doing as an acting general manager?
-- Curtis K., Washington
He's doing well but not perfect. The draft looked nice for a low-budget one, but without much of the upside I had hoped. The trades have been iffy and at times it has looked like he has been a little too honest with the media with snipey remarks on Shell and Cabrera. Still, he's been decent at worst and will be a good GM when they're ready to pull the interim tag off of him. Despite taking small shots at some players, he has calmed many's fears that he would melt in front of the media.
What exactly is "the plan" now for the Nationals?
-- Trey O., Washington
We're halfway there. The pitching is ready once Strasburg gets signed (Strasburg-Zimmermann-Lannan-Detwiler-Martis/Stammen is looking like a good rotation), but we have very little hitting-wise in the minors. Bryce Harper will help, but I think the Nats might need to have a real hitter-heavy draft next year.
Since the Nationals are reportedly talking about limiting the innings of their young starting pitchers, is it possible to go to a six-man rotation instead of shutting them down later in the year? I really liked John Smoltz's remarks about not limiting them at all.
-- Conrad S., Accokeek, Md.
I would like the idea of a 6-man rotation more if our bullpen was better, but it's still intriguing. The team plans on calling up the likes of Mock, Balester and Estrada to fill in holes come September when ZNN and Detwiler are shut down, but won't those guys be near their inning limits as well?
Why isn't Willie Harris playing every day? He has the speed and plays good defense. What do you think?
-- Ron P., Lock Haven Pa.
He should play 3 of every 4 games in my opinion. He's a guy you want off the bench too, don't forget that-on a good team, he's a bench player.
You mentioned that the front office has concluded that both Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn are best suited for the American League as designated hitters. Do you think that the team will be trying to trade both of them?
-- Greg, Washington
If they haven't dealt Willingham yet, I am not convinced they will. That being said, I only expect them to deal one of them. They can handle one poor defensive outfielder, just not 2.